Chattanooga, TN (Sports Network) -
Cal Poly defensive end Chris Gocong was named the 11th winner of the Buck Buchanan Award at the FCS College Football Awards held in Chattanooga, TN on the eve of the FCS national championship. The Buchanan Award is presented annually to the top defensive player in FCS.
A 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior, Gocong paced a Cal Poly defense that led the nation with 55 sacks. Gocong led all FCS players in sacks with 19, and filled up the stat sheet with 24 tackles for a loss, 79 total tackles, 14 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Gocong played well in big games for a Cal Poly defense that spearheaded the team?s 8-3 record and first-ever playoff berth.
After finishing second to teammate Jordan Beck in the 2004 Buck Buchanan Award voting, Gocong began his assault on FCS quarterbacks with nine tackles and two sacks against Sacramento State. In a matchup between ranked opponents, Gocong took it to another level by notching 10 tackles and three sacks in a 38-10 victory against Montana State.
Gocong kept performing at a high level and Cal Poly kept winning over the next three games against Great West Conference rivals. Gocong notched eight tackles and 1.5 sacks in a win against South Dakota State, 3.5 sacks in against Northern Colorado, and seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble versus North Dakota State. By the time the Mustangs went to Montana on Oct. 22, they had a 5-1 record and moved all the way up to No. 3 in the rankings.
A two-game losing streak followed, but Gocong helped lead one final push to the playoffs in the month of November. Gocong had big days against Eastern Washington (9 TT, 4 TFL, 2 sacks), Southern Utah (3 sacks) and Idaho State (7 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 FF, 7 QBH) to help seal Cal Poly?s playoff berth.
Gocong is the second consecutive Cal Poly defender to win the Buchanan Award, and takes home the program?s second major FCS award. It is also the second award for the Great West Conference. He captured 44 out of 113 first-place votes and 359 total points to claim the Buchanan trophy. Brent Hawkins of Illinois State finished second with 19 first-place votes and 266 points, while Hampton linebacker Justin Durant was third with 13 first-place votes and 171 points.
The Buck Buchanan Award was established in 1995 by The Sports Network. The Award is named for All-Pro defensive end Junious "Buck" Buchanan, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs after beginning his career at Grambling State.